Some 24 organisations challenge validity of assessment of 6 Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements (FTDES)
13/12/2019 18:22, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - Organisations from Algeria, Egypt, Europe, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia issued a joint statement, which challenges the validity of the ongoing evaluation study, commissioned by the European Commission, on 6 Association Agreements between the European Union and Mediterranean countries, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (French: FTDES) revealed on Friday in a statement.

Based on the approach to the evaluation taken by this study, as presented in Tunis on September 26, 2019 and in the Final Inception Report, 24 Euro-Mediterranean civil society organisations stated that this study is totally, unsatisfactory for the following reasons:

The economic methodology, which has been imposed by the European Commission, is neither transparent nor suitable for an evaluation of the agreements.

Civil society has not been sufficiently involved and its recommendations have not been taken into account.

The study does not constitute an evaluation of the agreements in terms of sustainable development, including the impact on the economic, social and environmental well-being of the populations concerned.

These organisations consider that the methods of this evaluation study do not correspond to the objectives it should pursue. It focuses on a partial and inappropriate economic assessment, does not take into account the civil society recommendations and does not address the essential question of the consequences on the quality and sustainability of environmental, social and economic conditions and to what extent they impact on states’ obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all the populations concerned.

As a result, the organisations do not consider the conclusions of this study to provide a meaningful assessment of the consequences of the Association Agreements. The fact that the design of future free trade agreements including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) will likely rely on the conclusions of this assessment.

The organisations therefore call for current study to be halted and a new methodology, in line with the United Nations Guiding principles, to be formulated. The priorities should be reversed in this new methodology so that consequences on sustainable development of the affected countries and populations are assessed as a first priority on the basis of empirical and disaggregated data.

Such a methodology should be designed and conducted in close collaboration with civil society, including individuals and communities who are particularly affected by the agreements.

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